Fear Came Knocking

20 Feb

When I was 16 years old I left home. My sister was away at college and my mom was in a rough spot in her life. I was in a rough spot in my life. When you are 16 the bad times feel like hell has come home to live where your heart once was.I will leave high school and enroll in community college in Philadelphia. I will get my GED in college and then keep on going. I had it all planned out. I would live in a super fab apartment in Center CIty, have my fab great pro skateboarder friends and I would be living the life.

It didn’t go quite as I planned.

I did have the most ridiculous apartment overlooking the Philadelphia city scape. It was awe-inspiring. We lived on the third floor and had huge bay windows that made you feel that you could see till the end of the earth. I didn’t get my GED, instead I got a job managing a health food store. I went to work at 5 am every morning, snow sleet or hail. I was there, always there. I had all the amazing friends and I lived life to the fullest. Every hour was filled with memories to be made. The nights went on forever and every morning was a new day full of mishaps and adventures to be had.

If you ever visited Philadelphia you know the city has an interesting layout. Posh fancy apartments just one block away from crack row. I could have cared less. I was 16 years old and I was a bad ass to the core. My boyfriend lived on one of the most dangerous streets in Center City, I laughed at that. I would walk down that street by myself, all 5’2 inches of me at 3am and I dare anybody mess with me. I was ten feet tall and ready to rumble.

Where did she go?


I nearly threw up in my seat the first time I had to fly with my kids. I have been flying since I was 5 years old. Back then I could fly by myself, even sit in first class. I had no fears, no worries of the plane crashing, no fearful thoughts that came in and took over.

When you get older decisions become more difficult, more complicated, more powerful. This is at  my definition of aging.

I can close my eyes and squeeze my eyelids tight. I can time travel back in time to 1985. I can feel the sand under my feet as we walked along our favorite beach, El Matador in Malibu, California. I can hear my sisters laughter as we discovered the hidden caves and their priceless treasures inside. Pieces of colored glass that were polished down and smooth as silk. Our stepfather Carl used to tell us they were precious gems that came  from the Far East. I believed every word. I always believed every word said to me as a child.I would run and jump and play in the blue ocean waters. I would let the waves carry me out as I got tangled up in massive beds of seaweed. I would feel little animals brush past my legs, I would giggle.

30 years later I am in Florida with my kids and I can barely put my feet in the water. I can’t go in, there are sharks there, they will eat me. I see fish swimming around me, the sharks must be close. I have to get my kids out of the water. My fear so great that I momentary become dizzy. I finally get in the water, I swim out pretty far. The whole time I am talking to myself, “It’s okay, you are fine, you don’t want your kids to grow up with fear. You have to do this. You have to at least appear to have courage.”


I heard Oprah interview an immensely popular author, he said the number one thing preventing us from living our fullest lives is fear. At first you think, yeah that’s just some airy fairy stuff, but once I dug deeper I realized not so hippy dippy after all.

I am consumed by fear most days, engulfed in it, wrapped up in it like a newborn baby being swaddled by his mother. Why, Why, Why? I am paralyzed at times by my fear. It follows me around like a shadow creeping around the corner in a dark alley. It isn’t my friend, it tries to tell me its my friend and that it’s here to protect me, but that is bullish-t! I get so enraged at myself for feeling like I am stuck in quicksand, so maddened by my immobilization.

I don’t live well with the unknown. I try to tell myself that all will be ok. I make others tell me the same. Tell me what I want to hear. Tell me that it’s fine and will work out just magnificently in the end. Lie to me so that I feel safe. The minute I know my safety is threatened my fear comes calling my name.

In the spirit of authenticity I will share out loud and with integrity.

I am scared. I am scared of change. I am scared of what will be. I am scared that I am not enough. I am scared that I don’t have the will to overcome the fear.

Are you with me? Are you scared? Do you find yourself strolling down the street in your fear wheelchair to afraid to get up and walk on your own two feet?

8 Responses to “Fear Came Knocking”

  1. barbarapotter February 20, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

    Actually no, I never let that fear get near me. Maybe good, mabybe bad. I really don’t know. But the strength you have will lift you up and you will not let it get the best of you. I know you are strong and will overcome all of this even though it seems overpowering right now. Love you so much.

    • rachyrachp February 20, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      So true. Mom, you are the only person I know in my life who isn’t scared of anything. You are the eteenal bad mamma jamma!

  2. Traci Townsend February 20, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    Oh, my dear – when I began working with my stuff and owning who I am, fear and anxiety were my constant companions. More and more crap kept “coming up” to be “healed.” It drove me effing nuts. I used to joke that I was having personal growth-induced agoraphobia. Big, big hugs as you stand up and tell your truth. It gets better – it DOES – and having a strong support system was essential for me. I needed folks around me who would witness my pain, reassure me that it would pass, and then rejoice with me when I felt better. I have faith in you!

    • rachyrachp February 20, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      Feeling connected is the most important part of healing, for me at least. And here we are now, connected. 😉

  3. Katie Devine February 20, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    I start writing every blog post, each one seems to be so different in my head but I see that at the heart of almost every one is the same thing: fear. It gets disguised as sadness or anger or frustration but it’s almost always fear. So yes, I’m sitting here in that wheelchair too.

    I am excited to watch as you overcome your fear, because I know that you will, and because I hope that some of the fearlessness rubs off on me.

  4. kim February 20, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Sadly, fear has been a constant companion of mine for about half of my life. I’m about to turn 51 in April and it began it’s grip on me not long after my second child was born. (He is about to turn 25 this March) Fear has stopped me from doing so many things in my life and at times I have been able overlook it and just do the best I can but most days I just get so tired of being held captive by it.

  5. Janice February 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    hey Rachel, I know about fear. I like Martha Beck’s book “Steering by Starlight”. She has a fun writing style and she gives lots of ways to work on overcoming fear. Basically, your brain is comfortable with fear because it keeps you from taking chances and changing the status quo – fear is safe, is what your brain thinks. Living a full life isn’t always safe, but we need to convince our brains to let go of the fear first.

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